January 20, 2013 | The Star | Kang Soon Chen |
Like many university students who chose to work part-time, Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten) firstyear information systems student Sonia Sharmilee Thillainathan wanted to earn extra money to help her family.
"Working in the campus is definitely more convenient for me because I can save on the travelling expenses incurred," said Sonia who was attached to Uniten's procurement department from June last year.
She was among 25 first-year Uniten students selected to participate in the in-campus part-time working programme jointly initiated by 1Malaysia Development Berhad and Sime Darby Foundation.
The participants were expected to work in different departments of the university throughout the four-year programme.
"Prior to joining this programme, I had no idea what the working environment was like in an office.
Invaluable experience aside, Sonia shared that the icing on the cake was the RM10,000 study grant (salaries) that every participating student receives each year!
Fellow participant Melvin Tah Kok Wai said his experience of handling the reception desk at the student affairs' department has taught him soft skills in customer service.
"Sometimes I have students coming up to me to ask questions related to their accommodation and other issues. I may not always know the answers but I will try my best to find the information and help them," said Melvin, 21.
Another participant Zaharotunisa Zakaria, 25, said she enjoyed her stint at the marketing department because she was able to put her creativity to good use by designing promotional posters for Uniten.
"…I applied for a transfer to the marketing department since the position available there was more relevant to my field of studies," said the multimedia and graphics student.
Uniten deputy vice-chancellor (Student Affairs, Alumni and Management) Prof Dr Kamal Nasharuddin Mustapha said the programme aimed to inculcate good work ethics and develop professionalism among students.
"Unlike the experience gained from working in places such as supermarkets and fast food joints, the programme offers an intellectual dimension for the students as they will be learning about strategic planning, event management, customer service and data collection.
Experience Works was also launched in Taylor's University and the International Islamic University Malaysia.
- Excerpt reproduced with the permission of The Star, Malaysia